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+ - User Backlash at Slashdot Beta Site-> 3

Submitted by hduff
hduff (570443) writes "Look at almost any current Slashdot story and see loyal, long-time members rail against the new site design, willing to burn precious karma points to post off-topic rants against the new design and it being forced on users by the Dice Overlords. Discussion has begun to create an alternate site."
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+ - Boycott Beta 2

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "On February 5, 2014, Slashdot announced through a javascript popup that they are starting to "move in to" the new Slashdot Beta design.

Slashdot Beta is a trend-following attempt to give Slashdot a fresh look, an approach that has led to less space for text and an abandonment of the traditional Slashdot look. Much worse than that, Slashdot Beta fundamentally breaks the classic Slashdot discussion and moderation system.

If you haven't seen Slashdot Beta already, open this in a new tab. After seeing that, click here to return to classic Slashdot.

We should boycott stories and only discuss the abomination that is Slashdot Beta until Dice abandons the project.
We should boycott slashdot entirely during the week of Feb 10 to Feb 17 as part of the wider slashcott

Moderators — only spend mod points on comments that discuss Beta
Commentors — only discuss Beta [] [] — Vote up the Fuck Beta stories

Keep this up for a few days and we may finally get the PHBs attention.

Captcha: fuckbeta"

+ - Alternatives to Slashdot post beta? 8

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Like many Slashdotters, I intend to stop visiting Slashdot after the beta changeover. After years of steady decline in the quality of discussions here, the beta will be the last straw. What sites alternative to Slashdot have others found? The best I have found has been, but it has been a while since I've looked for tech discussion sites."

Comment: Re:All the cyberlibertarian rage... wrong question (Score 2) 374

by Smidge204 (#46120355) Attached to: California Regulator Seeks To Shut Down 'Learn To Code' Bootcamps

I had the same question and started clicking around. I came up with this:

Just browsing through the dense wall of legalese, it seems largely related to being clear (and documented) in purpose and intent, having structured hierarchy of responsibility, good record keeping practices, providing appropriate resources (access to staff, libraries/labs, equipment etc), having clearly defined financial policies in place, making sure your faculty is competent and up to date on their subject matter, have clearly defined admission standards, etc.

I don't see anything particularly onerous in these requirements.

Comment: Re:Compliance (Score 4, Insightful) 374

by Smidge204 (#46120139) Attached to: California Regulator Seeks To Shut Down 'Learn To Code' Bootcamps

I dunno, but compliance is not necessarily a bad thing.

I want all of my electrical and electronic devices to comply with appropriate standards and regulations so they all work together and are safe to use.

I want vehicles and buildings to comply with the myriad of safety regulations.

I want my food and food preparation/handling facilities to comply with best practices.

I don't know what the BPPE requires with respect to compliance (article does not say in what way these places are not in compliance), but maybe I want that too.

Comment: Re:Fake? (Score 1) 73

by Smidge204 (#45745183) Attached to: Life-Sized, Drivable 500,000 Piece Lego Car Runs On Air

1. There are valve assemblies on "top" of each piston assembly, and these valves are flipped back and forth by the motion of the pistons themselves.

2. The tubes are only a few inches long between valve and piston, and the valve itself vents the "off" side. At most you only need to depressurize a few inches of tubing at a time.

3. There appears to be four pistons per assembly, 16 assemblies per stack, and 4 stacks. Each piston assembly has a small crankshaft which outputs to a gear, and then each assembly in the stack combines their power via a set of gears to a shaft, and each stack contributes to the shaft. You don't have (or need) a single central crankshaft like with a typical car engine.

4. It doesn't necessarily need bearings, but it's entirely possible to make select sections that are round enough or use a series of wheels that ride in a round-enough track for support. Alternatively, the gearboxes on either end could be non-LEGO, leaving only the shaft to be built with no support required. (I suspect this is the case at least for the rear axle)

5. Each piston has a travel of ~3cm and has dick-all inertia.

6. Agreed, but there's a dropbox linked through the official site has some better photos.

Being an experiences LEGO nerd, there's nothing obvious that completely rules out such a contraption. I suspect they may have used glue on some parts, though, at the very least.

Comment: Re:Fundamental problem (Score 1) 199

by Smidge204 (#45652021) Attached to: Affordable 3D Metal Printer Developed Based on RepRap

With a little finagling, you can print serviceable PCBs and functional transistors using the same basic machine. Not in any real quality of course, but "it technically works" proof of concept stuff so far.

But after a certain point, you're no longer printing parts but just commodity items. For example, there's no point in printing nails for a wooden frame because nails are literally cheaper than a dime a dozen to begin with.

Comment: Re:Cause and effect reversed. (Score 1) 199

by Smidge204 (#45651831) Attached to: Affordable 3D Metal Printer Developed Based on RepRap

More to the point: Congress has explicit authority to call upon the Militias to suppress insurrections, and so called the Militias are under the command of the President.

These are the same "Well Regulated Militias" mentioned in the 2nd Amendment.

So it seems rather ignorant for anyone to make claim to "2nd Amendment Solutions" as they are sometimes called, because in a strict interpretation of the US Constitution a "2nd Amendment Solution" as these people envision it would be to just shoot themselves.

The real reason for the 2nd, IMHO, is because the US is not supposed to have a professional army. That's also in the constitution: "To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years." Instead, private citizens were explicitly allowed to keep firearms so that in the event of invasion or insurrection, we would have a ready force to deal with it until a formal army could be put together instead of having to support an army in perpetuity.

Comment: Re:Because... (Score 1) 406

by Smidge204 (#45618379) Attached to: Why Engineers Must Consider the Ethical Implications of Their Work

I guess it depends on what field you're in and what state you're licensed in.

"Drawings , specifications and other documents prepared by [consultant] are the instruments of the consultant's service and shall remain the property of [consultant], whether or not the project for which they are intended is constructed. The drawings, specifications and other documents will not be used on any other projects, additions to this project and/or for completion of this project by others, except by agreement in writing and with appropriate compensation to [consultant]."

That's a fairly standard notice that appears on nearly every drawing we produce, and similar language can be found on many blueprints.

Part of being a PE/RA means you're responsible for what you design, beyond just being fired. It's unacceptable to let someone take your design and use if without your knowledge and supervision, because if they mess it up it's your ass (not just your company, you personally) that gets sued. To that end, some consultants choose to explicitly maintain the intellectual property rights of the design documents.

And it's explicitly against the law for anyone who isn't a PE/RA to modify documents prepared and sealed by a PE/RA.

Comment: Re:Speaking of advocates (Score 1) 406

by Smidge204 (#45617375) Attached to: Why Engineers Must Consider the Ethical Implications of Their Work

I get the feeling that you naively believe that an insurance company, offering different plans to different risk pools, is somehow keeping each plan's/group's finances completely separate. And it is absolutely not the case that you have some kind of account dedicated only to you, that only your money flows through, like a savings account that you can draw from when the conditions of the insurance contract are met. (I don't think you are THAT naive... but the part you put in quotes makes this worth mentioning.)

Just because you buy plan A and I buy plan B, does not mean that my money will never go to you and your money will never go to me. It just means that we pay different premiums based on our risk.

From the standpoint of the insurance company, the goal of course is to make profit. That means you WANT healthy people to pay into the system explicitly so their contributions can offset the costs of the sick people making claims against their policies. Using a healthy person's money to pay for a sick person's care (instead of your own company's money) is at the very core of the business model.

Comment: Re:Speaking of advocates (Score 2) 406

by Smidge204 (#45612373) Attached to: Why Engineers Must Consider the Ethical Implications of Their Work

What you describe is already in place fro the poor and elderly; Medicare and Medicaid, respectively. They've been around a long time and they're pretty popular with everyone. There's also social security, which is essentially the same except not medically related.

I think everyone who understand what insurance actually is understands - at least implicitly - that they are subsidizing someone else. These people also understand that if they end up needing help, then others will be subsidizing them.

It real fun is when those who don't understand this end up relying on that insurance themselves and feeling just as entitled about it as they chide others for supposedly being. No sense of irony.

When it comes to healthcare and the mandate, though, you are replacing an indirect subsidy with a quite possibly cheaper direct subsidy. Indirect, because these uninsured people still cost YOU money when they get sick one way or another... usually in the form of higher costs for healthcare because the uninsured either resort to hospital emergency rooms and the expenses they can't pay end up being covered by those who can pay, or by unspecified economic costs from lost productivity or opportunity (i.e. bankruptcy from medical bills, inability to work due to illness, etc)

Comment: Re:Scalpel or gun can be used for good or bad ... (Score 1) 406

by Smidge204 (#45612263) Attached to: Why Engineers Must Consider the Ethical Implications of Their Work


You build the next best thing which will hopefully be the right thing against $next_bad_guy

loop until ($next_bad_guy == $your_own_countrys_citizens)

I wonder if the people who design those laser "dazzlers" and microwave emitters for "non-lethal crowd control" ever consider that their devices might be turned on innocent people by an oppressive military or police force and not just rioting mobs of enemy soldiers.

Or if the guys who worked to develop drones with offensive capabilities are worried those, too, might be turned on innocent civilians.

I'm reminded of the movie "Cube" - one of the people trapped in the machine was apparently one of the engineers who, unknowingly, helped to build it. Once he realized it he lamented that he was only doing his job, and that the client gave him specifications and he designed what they wanted. "If you do one little job, you build a widget in Saskatoon, and the next thing you know, it's two miles under the desert, the essential component of a death machine."

Never invest your money in anything that eats or needs repainting. -- Billy Rose